Texas Senate advances transgender sports bills

The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved two bills on Monday that would require transgender student athletes to participate on school sports teams that align with the students’ biological sex at birth. The Senate committee advanced Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 32 in a 6-0 vote.

Both bills limit a student’s ability to compete on a sports team that aligns with their gender identity. The bills prevent schools from allowing a student to compete on a team that is “designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex,” as stated on their birth certificate or other government record. S.B. 2 applies to public schools and higher education institutions, whereas S.B. 32 only applies to public schools.

Some students have changed their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. The bills require the original birth certificate to be applied rather than the updated birth certificate.

Republican Senator Charles Perry authored the bills. Senator Perry stated that the bills protect cisgender women from having opportunities taken away by transgender women and girls. Senator Perry explained, “It’s not okay to destroy the dreams of one for the benefit of another.”

Opponents of the bill argue that the number of transgender athletes is small. Democratic Senator John Whitmire, for example, suggested that “this is a very small community. Then if you look at the number of school-aged children it would be much smaller, and largely they are minding their own business . . . and just want to be left alone.”

Only republicans voted on S.B. 2 and S.B. 32 because dozens of Texas House Democrats went to Washington, D.C. on Monday in an effort to block the passage of voting restrictions legislation.